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Matthews Family to Townsville
As condensed from 'Pioneers of North Queensland'
Edited by Ursula Chandler & Jan Bennett.

The four sons of Henry Matthews and Catherine (nee Wearne) of Gweek, Cornwall, England all migrated to Australia, settling at Charters Towers where they worked as miners. They were: Thomas Henry, William James, John Wearne and Samuel.

Thomas Henry was born on 17 April 1865 and arrived in Townsville on 12 July 1884 on the Duke of Devonshire. He married Sarah Jane Nettle in Charters Towers on 8 October 1892. Sarah was the daughter of James and Sarah (née Stoneman). She was born February 1870 at Illogan Highway, Cornwall. Thomas died on 17 October 1937 and Sarah on 31 March 1954, both in Townsville.

On 18 December 1886 William James, born 30 August 1869, arrived in Maryborough aboard the Selkirkshire. He made his way to Charters Towers where he married Elizabeth Mary Rablin on 8 July 1893. Elizabeth was born c1875 in Copperfield [Copperfield is several hundred kilometers south of Charters Towers, near Clermont, and the location of extensive copper mining at the time], the daughter of William Henry Rablin and Elizabeth (née Bluet). Their children were: Mary Ellen born 26 December 1893, Catherine 10 February 1895 and William James 22 March 1897. William died in a mine accident on 25 June 1896 in Charters Towers.

John Wearne, born 26 May 1867 arrived with his brother William on board the Selkirkshire. John married his brother's widow Elizabeth on 12 April 1898 and they had nine children: John born 27 January 1899, Charles 16 March 1900, Richard Henry 3 September 1902, Elizabeth 1906, Albert Ernest 1908, Edith Maude 1910, Ruby Margaret 1912, Nellie 1914 and Ivy 1916.

Samuel was born on 22 May 1872; he arrived in Maryborough on 10 November 1889 aboard the Scottish Lassie. He married Susan Shephard on 23 November 1895 in Charters Towers. Susan was born in Copperfield on 5 April 1876, the daughter of William Shephard and Frances (née Stoneman). Samuel and Susan had four children all born in Charters Towers: Samuel born 22 February 1896, William 4 October 1897, Orton 14 October 1899 and Susan 30 August 1904. Samuel jnr died on 10 March 1914 after failing down a mine shaft at the Brilliant extended mine in Queenton, Charters Towers. William married Elizabeth Holmes on 1 May 1922 and they had seven children. Orton married Mary Elizabeth Ferguson Walker in April 1925 in Charters Towers and they had three children.

Samuel died 25 December 1931 in Charters Towers and Susan on 29 September 1958 in Townsville.

Contributors of record were: Mrs. June Henderson, of Mitcham, in Queensland, and James Matthews, of Kirwan, in Townsville

The next generation...

Richard Henry Matthews was born on 3 March 1902 in Charters Towers, son of John Wearne Matthews and Elizabeth Mary (nee Rablin). Richard married Olive Elizabeth Harte on 27 July 1931 in Townsville where their two sons were born: Richard Henry and James

Olive Elizabeth, better known to her friends as Holly, was born at Bundaberg on 11 September 1908, the daughter of Henry Walter Harte and Ellen Louisa (nee Harstoff). After the family arrived in Townsville c1908, Olive attended St. Patrick's College on the Strand. A dressmaker by trade, she assisted various organisations and worked for the Mundingburra School Committee and the YMCA.

In the 1950's when polio was rampant in Townsville, Holly was asked to help some of the young girls regain the use of their hands by teaching them needlework. She spent countless hours at this heart-rending task. After Richard Henry died on 11 September 1959, Holly dedicated more of her time to community organisations. She became the first woman to serve on the management committee of the Townsville Soccer Association, was made a life member of Souths United Soccer Club and the Townsville Junior Soccer Association and was chief cook at the Methodist Camp on Magnetic Island for many years. For her voluntary services to the community Holly was awarded the British Empire Medal. She died on 1 July 1986 and is buried at Townsville.

Contributor of record: James Matthews, Kirwan, Townsville